“Travelling – It leaves you Speechless and then turns you into a Storyteller”
This holiday was going to be pure relaxation on a lovely island by the beach where we would stay in beautiful accommodation – and it was exactly that and more!
We had an overnight stay at the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport in Singapore before departing the next day on a 10.25am flight to Koh Samui on Silk Air, which only took 1.5 hours – already winning. They even had an inflight meal and I was so impressed with the service for such a short journey.
I could just feel it in my bones that this was going to be an amazing trip.
For the first time, I had no expectations for this holiday because I was just so eager to get there! My expectations were surpassed.
Koh Samui airport is small but cute and there sure were a lot of planes on the tarmac bursting with happy holiday-makers’ just like me. We were offloaded onto open air carriages (similar to the ones they have at theme parks) and were ferried away on the short trip to customs. I thought this was a great mode of transport and was definitely more inviting then treading along the well-worn carpet of an airport walkway.
At the transfer kiosk (as you exit the airport) we booked a return transfer for only B950 Baht (so roughly just under $40 Australian dollars for 2 passengers) in a luxury private taxi.
It was a short 10-minute drive as we drove through the villages and arrived at our hotel the Hansar Samui Resort & Spa (located at Bophut beach) where we received a warm Thai Welcome – Sawasdee Ka.
It was stunning with peek-a-boo sea views as we checked in at reception, accompanied by a refreshing cold drink and face flannel. The humidity on the island is not too dissimilar to a Queensland summer.
Our room was modern but traditional with amazing pool and sea views from our balcony and a huge in-room shower. I was truly in paradise.
The beach was literally across the road, with a few sun lounges sprinkled along the finely pebbled sand. This Maori girl’s derriere became best friends with both the pool and beach sun lounges.
I gladly took turns to enjoy cool dips in the hotel pool and also in the cooler waters of the Andaman Sea, along with many other like-minded water babies.
The start of the village is conveniently located about a minute’s walk away from the hotel and hey presto you’re right there!
As you look down the road it’s just two straight rows of restaurants, tours, salons and souvenir shops – I was in heaven. You are truly spoiled for choice when deciding on a place to eat and it is so delicious, cheap and affordable.
As a note, just be careful with the constant flow of vehicles and bikes along the shared narrow road. I freaked out when people on scooters would appear from nowhere, but a polite “toot toot” soon lets you know to get out of the way so you won’t get mowed down.
Any who, anyone that knows me knows that I love my food; and I absolutely loved the food on Samui (as the locals say). You could tell the food had been cooked with love and made with pride using fresh ingredients and different sauces or spices. I don’t know what it is was, all I know is that it tasted delicious and my taste buds sang with pure delight.
If you’re looking for a souvenir bargain, don’t forget to bring your bartering skills with you. You can also have a look around for a better price and go back later.
What I also liked is that the stall owners or restaurant front-of-house reps don’t harass you. They will simply invite you in or offer a flyer with their specials. There is no aggression or harassment which is so refreshing. However, the tailor shops are the exception and will try the hard sell.
On Friday night’s they also have the “markets” with many stalls selling an assortment of goods as they vie for your baht. It does get a bit crazy and claustrophobic with people everywhere in a tight space and especially on a warm evening.
However, there are some amazing gifts that you can buy for yourself, family or friends. I bought some lovely wooden ornaments and when I asked the sales lady ‘what wood is this?’ she looked at me strangely and simply said ‘off the tree!’ – I burst out laughing because she was absolutely right and that was such a witty reply!
Taxis are aplenty in Bophut Beach so there’s no need to rush to get to where you need to go.
There are a few tour operators’ to choose from and they offer a good selection of tours that will suit your budget and itinerary. Next time I plan to do a tour of the National Marine Park.
Hiring Jet Skis were a popular activity with all its high impact energy, speed and adrenalin rush.
Muay Thai Kickboxing is another popular sport in Thailand so don’t be surprised when you see Ute’s driving around, blasting their boom boxes and advertising the next kickboxing matches.
One morning, as I sat admiring the view from the comfort of my sun lounge on the beach, I watched as a guy got ready to go Parasailing. I was fascinated and inspired all at the same time.
So much so that I even contemplated going the next day – eeek!!
But then I chickened out, I basically talked myself out of it because (thinking the worst) I didn’t know if my insurance covered this type of activity. I had visions of my parasail coming loose and I’d be drifting off into the sunset never to be seen again! Oi!
However, I think I am going to get up the courage to do this next time and just make sure that I’m fully covered and insured – I can’t wait and I’ll forever memorialise it in video.
Whenever I travel to a country, I like to learn some words of greeting and thanks, including not what to do so that I don’t cause any offence.
For me personally it is a sign of courtesy and respect to learn the basics of the local language and their customs.
You can find information on ‘Google’ however, there is nothing more valuable and authentic than learning from a local.
On another day while poolside, we got talking to an attendant by the name of San (lovely guy) and I was asking about the Thai language (male and female) and the pressing of hands in greeting.
San firstly explained a bit about himself and his background that he came from a small village and had worked at the hotel for nearly seven years. We asked if he travelled home often. He replied only on his vacation time because it took nearly 20 hours straight on a bus (via Bangkok) to get home to his village to see his family. Now that is a testament to family love and commitment.
Anyway, San proceeded to teach me to count to ten in Thai, then he went on to explain that the correct way for a woman to end a sentence is with the word “Ka” and males should use “Khap”. This also applies when a woman is greeting a male and vice versa – so Sawasdee ka (hello) khob khun ka (thank you).
San then went on to explain that the higher you press your hands (Wai) the more revered you are. So you start with your family and friends, then higher for your Grandparents and then Buddha is at the highest point.
Thank you so much San for taking the time to proudly teach both my husband and me about your language and culture. It was very much appreciated and I hope you received our gift when we left as a small token of our sincere gratitude and thanks.
You are not obligated to tip in Samui, however, if you have received excellent service then a tip is a great way to show your thanks and consider factoring this into your budget; of course it is personal choice.
Having said that, we chose to tip and it felt really good.
I absolutely fell in love with Koh Samui!
A holiday to Samui is what you want to make of it, whether it’s jammed packed or a relaxed affair and even a combination of both.
It is an affordable island paradise for all travellers’. The views are stunning, the food amazing and the gentle Thai hospitality and infectious smiles make for an unforgettable holiday destination.
This was undeniably our best holiday ever!
We are already planning our holiday back there next year, bring it on………..
Khob Khun Ka Samui! See you again